García is a super-spy with supernatural strength and a kind heart, but he’s also a bit fascist. After 60 years in a cryogenic chamber located where “heroes rest”, in the Valley of the Fallen, the Spain in which he awakens is far from the country’s ‘black and white’ era, in which he served as a secret agent for the Franco dictatorship. García (Francisco Ortiz) is the result of a experiment in which the secret services of the Franco regime collaborated with a Nazi scientist who fantasizes about immortality and the search for a kind of superman who is a ‘supersoldier’. But everything García knew has long since disappeared or fallen into ruin. Sixty years down the track it turns out not all the loose ends had been tied up after all and the Spain confronting him is far from the country it once was. It’s a collision of the old world with postmodern life.
What used to be the secret headquarters of his agency, under the Palacio de la Música concert hall on Gran Vía, is today a mega-store for designer clothes. And where he once used to visit his girlfriend in a hairdressing salon, next to the Arco de Cuchilleros in the Plaza Mayor, today there’s a hipster barbershop. Nothing is as it was and there is little resemblance between the Spain he defended and the democracy in which he has awoken after what seemed only the blink of an eye.
That’s the starting point of ¡GARCÍA!, the new patriotic action and adventure series that HBO Max premieres on October 28. This new Spain is a hypothetical country that nevertheless in many ways resembles the one of recent years. In power is a very right-wing party riddled with corruption cases and whose candidate for the next election, “The Captain”, is played by an Abascal (Silvia Abascal). The current president, in a caretaker role and on his way out, has no loftier aspiration than to retire in Pontevedra with his family. As for the opposition, a communist party, whose leader is also called Pablo, is gaining ground. Its supporters want to surround the Congress, just as those of the other side are gathering in the Valley of the Fallen to extol the virtues of Franco. In short, it’s a riven country on the verge of chaos, led by petty-minded politicians, and one in which a small group eager for a coup want to bang their fists on the table to provoke moves towards a much more restrictive system.
In this context, Antonia (Veki Velilla), a recent journalism graduate who is doing an internship at a newspaper, stumbles upon what will be the scoop of her career: the discovery of the ‘perfect’ soldier and a conspiracy hatched decades ago that could easily monopolize an entire episode of the Spanish TV show Cuarto Milenio. García is programmed to serve Spain without questioning orders and Antonia has just woken him up after six decades frozen in time. Both will have to learn to work together for the good of their country and in order to save their own skins.
In addition to Francisco Ortiz and Veki Velilla, the cast includes familiar faces such as Emilio Gutiérrez Caba and Lola Herrera, along with actors Francisco Reyes, Daniel Freire, Nico Romero, Helio Pedregal, Mario Pardo, Miki Molina, Marina Gatell and Pepe Ocio.
Produced by Zeta Studios for Warner Bros. Discovery in Spain, ¡GARCÍA! is based on the graphic novel by Santiago García and Luis Bustos, published by Astiberri Ediciones. Sara Antuña and Carlos de Pando are the creators and screenwriters of the series, and Eugenio Mira (Grand Piano) directs the six episodes of this first season.
The result is an original series full of nods to the viewer and plot twists that mix the world of conventional superheroes with the Spain of the Franco era that yearns for its past in the face of a new, much more cosmopolitan, modern and inclusive nation. An explosive and fun mix that also shows that, deep down, maybe we haven’t changed that much. After all, everyone yearns for the Spain of their dreams.